Ury explains that your ability to say no most effectively is to deliver the message of "No" in between two "Yes's".
The first Yes is to yourself and a means of protecting what is important to you. You're not being selfish is saying yes to yourself. Rather you are setting clear boundaries and establishing a firm core set of values and principles.
After you are clear on the inner Yes, you then get to No. You say it clearly, without emotion, but in a respectful way. Obviously, it's not in anyone's best interest for either party to walk away offended or feeling that they've been marginalized. The way to ensure this is by quickly following up the No, with the second Yes.
The second Yes comes by discussing what you are willing to consider, on what terms, in what other situation - it's about discussing a potential Plan B. The second Yes allows the other person to hear a more positive no to their initial request.
By using the approach of "Yes, No, Yes" rather than just "No", you are demonstrating and you are thoughtful in your decision-making and respectful in your communications.
Uncovering the hidden Yes, as we are saying No, is a key skill to develop. This accomplishes three useful tasks:
It grounds you in something positive. You can now stand
on your feet without stepping on their toes. Your No can be for your
needs, not against the other person. Instead of only saying No and
rejecting the other person, you can simply say Yes to what matters most
It gives you a sense of direction. You will now know where you are going with your No.
It gives you energy. You'll have the fuel to deliver your No and to sustain it in the face of resistance.
The Power Of A Positive No is filled with multiple examples of
how one can effectively communicate a positive No. Once you understand
the concept and give yourself the benefit of a little practice, the skill can be
developed fairly quickly.
As with most challenges, preparation and practice are necessary to
develop the necessary skill. Indeed, once you have practiced the method,
it takes less and less time to prepare, sometimes only a few seconds.
However, initially it's important to take the time you need to prepare the best message possible.
"Any problem, big or small, within a family, a team, or between two countries, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn't listening."
- Emma Thompson
To further support the "Yes, No, Yes" approach, the author explains how one can “build a golden bridge”.
hundred years ago, the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu counseled leaders to
“build a golden bridge for your opponent to retreat across.”
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
Although this advice still holds true today, Ury re-frames it more
positively by advising us to build a golden bridge for the other person to
advance across – toward a more positive and mutually beneficial
We must step for a moment into the other person’s shoes to see how difficult it may be for them to say Yes to an alternate proposal. In
their eyes, they may see a giant canyon that separates their proposed idea from your Plan B.
As the leader it is your job is to create a golden bridge that has merit; that they can accept, and possibly lead to advance for the benefit of the organization.
Through the countless stories and examples, Ury explains in clear detail how to Uncover Yes #1, Empower Your No, and Identify A Respectful Yes #2.book is a recommended read because
This is a book that can literally transform the quality of your communication skill, both personal and professional.
William Ury is a best-selling author. He directs
the Global Negotiation Project at Harvard University.